Thursday, June 29, 2017

Meklit - "Yerakeh Yeresal (ft. Andrew Bird)"

Six Degrees had fallen off my radar for a while as far as labels go, but with the release of When The People Move The Music Moves To, by San Francisco vocalist Meklit, they've certainly got my attention again. Lovely.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Son Little - "Blue Magic (Waikiki)"

Anti- continues to have a fascinating A&R department. On the heels of a great new record from Girlpool, as well as sleeper Jade Jackson and The Drums, they're set to release a new full-length from blues / r&b artist Son Little and the lead-off single is just a pristine slice of summer. The only constant with their releases is quality. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Elisapie - "Forefathers"

Bonsound just announced that they've signed Elisapie and to mark the occasion - as well as to honour National Aboriginal Day - they've shared her cover of Willie Thrasher's "Forefathers," described as "a monument of Inuit culture, a manifesto on Aboriginal peoples’ millennia-long ownership of the territory"
It's been five years since Elisapie released Travelling Love so it's exciting to have some new music from her though we'll have to wait until winter 2018 for the release of The Ballad of the Runaway Girl from the Inuk singer.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

No Vacation - "Yam Yam"

I feel like Miki Berenyi doesn't get enough credit for the gauzy dreampop that's been coming out of late. She and her band Lush were doing this so long ago that their albums are likely older than the members of No Vacation. Which isn't to say "Yam Yam" is derivative, but rather that it owes a lot to the UK act's more shoegazy tracks that were sometimes overshadowed by the jangly pop they also excelled at.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Songhoy Blues - "Bamako"

Due out next week on Fat Possum, Résistance, by Malian act Songhoy Blues only has this one track currently streaming on Bandcamp but if it's not enough to convince you to pre-order it of get your local shop to bring it in, well I don't know what to say.

Zara McFarlane - "All Africa"

I'm going to have to track down the original Max Roach cut that soul singer Zara McFarlane has "re-cast" as I've never heard it and I'm curious to know how it differs from this take and what it shares with McFarlane's version.

Also, big ups to Binker & Moses who are - as usual - supporting McFarlane here, and who just dropped a great new double LP on Gearbox Records.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Alvvays - "In Undertow"

Summer just started, but you've got to wait the whole thing through for the September 8 release of Antisocialites, the sophomore record from Alvvays, but lead-off single "In Undertow" is the perfect sun-dappled slice to tide you over until then.

Monday, June 5, 2017

My Polaris Prize Ballot - 2017 Round One

It's that time of the year again. The first ballot for the Polaris Prize is due tomorrow and from the initial 5 selections submitted by each juror, we'll get the 40 entry Longlist (which will be announced June 13th in Ottawa).

From hundreds of possibilities that were released during the eligibility period (including stuff that crossed my plate at UMFM, as well as all the suggestions made by my fellow jurors), I whittled things down to a personal longlist of 25 entries.

They are (alphabetically):

 A Tribe Called Red - We Are The Halluci Nation [Radicalized Records]
 Austra - Future Politics [Domino]
 BADBADNOTGOOD - IV [Arts & Crafts]
 BEYRIES - Landing [Bonsound]
 Black Atlass - Haunted Paradise [Fool's Gold]
 Louise Burns - Young Mopes [Light Organ Records]
 Castle If - Plant Material [Independent]
 Chocolat - Recontrer Looloo [Dare To Care Records]
 The Cosmic Range - New Latitudes [Idee Fixe]
 The Courtneys - II [Flying Nun]
 Mac DeMarco - This Old Dog [Captured Tracks/Royal Mountain Records]
 DJ Shub - Pow Wow Step [Independent]
 Duotang - New Occupation [Stomp]
 Figure Walking - The Big Other [Disintegration Records]
 Fleece - Voyager [Independent]
 Homeshake - Fresh Air [Royal Mountain Records]
 Japandroids - Near To The Wild Heart Of Life [Arts & Crafts]
 Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion: Side B [Interscope]
 Aleem Khan - Urbana Champagne [Independent]
 Klo Pelgag - L'Etoile Thoracique [Coyote Records]
 Northern Cree - It's A Cree Thing [Canyon Records]
 Lou Phelps - 001: Experiments [Independent]
 Alejandra Ribera - This Island [Pheromone]
 The Shiverettes - Dead Men Can't Cat Call [Transistor 66]
 Tasha The Amazon - Die Every Day [The Truth Music Group]

One thing I strive for in coming up with my Polaris ballot is consistency with my Year-End lists so it shouldn't be surprising to reveal that not only was We Are The Halluci Nation my #1 album of 2016, it's also the top spot on my Polaris 2017 ballot.

Here's my 5 in order:
01 A Tribe Called Red - We Are The Halluci Nation [Radicalized Records]
02 BADBADNOTGOOD - IV [Arts & Crafts]
03 Klo Pelgag - L'Etoile Thoracique [Coyote Records]
04 BEYRIES - Landing [Bonsound]
05 Alejandra Ribera - This Island [Pheromone]

P.S. I want to give a special shout out to some albums I quite enjoyed that the jury brought to my attention:
Alain Lefevre - Sas Agapo
Booji Boys - Booji Boys
Le Couleur - P.O.P.
Leanne Simpson - f(l)ight
Hooded Fang - Dynasty House
Sarah Davach- All My Circles Run

and finally, the self-titled record from She-Devils that came my way mid-May and I really didn't get enough time with to make the cut.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Mel Alston Jr. - "The Big Picture"

It's not the song they've embedded on their piece about the best new soul releases, but kudos to Bandcamp for bringing Dayton, Ohio's Mel Alston Jr. to my attention. After listening to leadoff track "The Day After Forever" I just let the LP keep rolling and when "The Big Picture" (track 3) hit, I was all in on this soul-singer. Great plaintive voice, fantastic production, this is some top-shelf r&b.